Topic outline

  • Please make sure to attend the first session of Startup Experience this Tuesday 12:01 PM at "Juniper" Lecture Room at K3 Building, Puumiehenkuja 5, 02150 Espoo. Finish the pre-course survey before you start the course:

    Welcome to Startup Experience Fall 2023

    Design your entrepreneurial style

    The Startup Experience is full of ups and downs, struggles and joys. You will be creating and testing business ideas and a minimum viable product (MVP) in student teams. With the help of teachers, peers and many guest lecturers, we will support you as you discover real customer needs, test ideas, and come up with viable solutions. This course is for you to feel what it’s like to take your ideas to market.

    Key objectives
    • Sketching Viable Business Opportunities: The end result of this course will be the creation of a sketch for a business opportunity that has been rigorously tested and proven to be viable given the appropriate time and resources. You will gain practical experience in developing and refining business ideas that have the potential to succeed in the real market.

    • Empowering Students to Take Action: Startup Experience aims to challenge and empower students to step out of their comfort zones and take action. By participating in workshops, hands-on team assignments, and engaging with guest lecturers, you will develop the confidence and skills needed to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality.

    • Using Prototyping as a Practical Tool: Prototyping is a powerful tool in the startup world. Throughout the course, you will learn how to effectively use prototyping to test and evaluate your ideas and potential solutions. By iterating and refining your prototypes based on real customer feedback, you will enhance the chances of creating successful products or services.

    In this course students will be able to:

    1. Design a viable and sustainable business model
    2. Demonstrate customer understanding and value proposition
    3. Evaluate and create competitive advantage 
    4. Exercise psychological and intellectual flexibility
    5. Prototype, iterate and use experimentation to develop services and products 
    6. Appraise positive and negative impacts on their environments 
    7. Build and lead a team

    The course simulates the real-world challenges (as far as possible) startups might encounter and how to overcome them. Startup Experience is experiential, and it consists of workshops and hands-on team assignments based on teams' venture ideas. The Sustainable Development Goals play an important role, as well. To help you understand more what it's like to undertake such a journey, here is an example of the teams that have gone through the experience together:

    Building scalable empathy and care for a sustainable future

    Caring about other people is the foundation of a healthy society. This journey focuses on the customers and their needs. Understanding their lives, habits, and values leads to empathy. Many students want to solve global issues and we are here to help you learn where to start and how to get going.  You will discover how to research and collect data that would assist in deepening the relationship with potential customers. The internal values you have will be made visible in the impacts you have on society. 

    At your service – at what cost?

    Balancing technology, innovative ideas and sustainable thinking with customer needs and demands is not easy. You will learn to think of others first, without losing the common sense needed to keep a business moving forward. Between needs and financial responsibility is a feasible business model. Through negotiation and communication skills, teams will explore the principle of maximum efficiency, always searching for the most economical options that meet sustainable and ethical business expectations.

    Should I optimize, pivot or focus?

    In teams, you will execute a creative design process. The opportunities and dilemmas related to this process will require you to embrace methods for effective decision-making and harnessing intuition. You will build multiple prototypes and will be using them to understand problems and potential solutions. Ideation and problem solving are the foundations of a viable product or service. Deciding when to cut your ideas off, change your mind, or renew your commitment to your ideas is key to any successful startup.

    Personal growth and style

    You will also investigate your own ways of being and learn how to find meaning in and through your work. Psychological flexibility and resilience to criticism, failures and uncertainty are abilities that need to be developed. By implementing the concept of radical well-being, you can be a more cooperative, productive, and creative individual. You will explore what it takes to build trust and what it means to have your own entrepreneurial style.

    Work in teams 

    The project work is done in multinational and multidisciplinary teams, so you will be faced with new team dynamics and changing roles and responsibilities, while also finding your personal boundaries. By curating team culture, and cultivating creativity, motivation, and mutual trust within the team, you will elevate each other’s potential.

    The Startup Experience way

    All communication and sharing of information will be conducted on Mycourses and through email. You will be our main priority and should you want to discuss anything, feel free to reach out to Teddy or Johannes, who will be your mentors and instructors throughout the course. The workload for Startup Experience is commonly 27 hours per week so make sure to clear your schedule and manage your time wisely. You should not have any other major projects going on during period III-IV. Course time allocation equivalent for 9 credits is 243 hours. The maximum absences you can have for Startup Experience is 4 unexcused absences and for all other absences need to have doctor's notes or exempted due to military obligations. 

    Workload allocation 
    Contact sessions68 hours
    Lectures and guest speakers' visits13 x 2 = 26h
    Assignments175 hours
    Individual self reflection videos (3 videos)  5h (approx.)
    Pre-reading and prepared videos 10h (approx.)
     Individual assignments 15h (approx.)
    Value proposition canvas (updates and reflections) 25h (approx.)
    Prototype (building, testing and validating) 30h (approx.)
    Interviews (preparation work and data processing) 30h (approx.)
    Financial work (funding, cash flow, budgeting, investment, market size) 25h (approx.)
     Individual research and work 15h (approx.)
     Teamwork and team discussion  20h (approx.)

    Timetable and Registration: 
    The course begins with a 3-day marathon from 6th September to 9th September at AVP Lecture Hall "Juniper," K3 Building, Konetekniikka 3. Afterward, regular sessions will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The course culminates in a DEMO DAY (TBU) on 28th November at K3 Building, Konetekniikka 3.

    The course is open to all Aalto students, and registration can be done via Sisu starting from August 7th, 2023. The deadline for registration is 28th August 2023.

    Before or Simultaneously:

    We recommend taking the 2-credit online course  “Starting up” - and/or the 1-credit online course TU-C2080 Entrepreneurship Essentials alongside Startup Experience to further enrich your learning experience.

    Introducing the teaching team!

    • Questionnaire icon
      Pre-course survey for Startup Experience Questionnaire
      Not available unless: You belong to L01 (SISU)
    • Assignment icon
      Make-up assignment: Developing Entrepreneurial Skills
      Not available unless: You belong to Students need to do make-up assignment